A number of UPL clubs cannot wait to meet with Fufa officials on Friday and renew pleas for the federation to extend financial assistance to bail them out.
The development comes as Fufa, on Monday, started disbursement of Shs128m to all the 16 clubs in the 2019/20 StarTimes Uganda Premier League season. The monies are entitlements for performance of each club as reflected in the final league table standings.
League champions Vipers are entitled to the biggest share, naturally, and were expected to have received Shs60m by press time, with the last team on the log, relegated Tooro United, receiving Shs500, 000. However, most of the clubs are pouting, with some telling Daily Monitor that they will petition Fufa for better financial assistance than the league performance rewards. The clubs cite the prevailing times that has Covid-19 pandemic and its shrouding effect written all over it. The global respiratory illness was the reason for the premature end of the league after Fufa invoked the 75 per cent rule by declaring Vipers champions with five rounds of matches to play.
“We have a meeting with Fufa on Friday and this will give us an opportunity to ask for the sponsorship balance since they are our ‘go-between’ with StarTimes,” said Express CEO Isaac Mwesigwa, who told this paper he was certain the Shs2.8m for ninth place finish in the last campaign was wired to the club account.
Mwesigwa’s counterpart at KCCA, Anisha Muhoozi, told Daily Monitor the league runners-up had received the Shs20m but added that “we are now waiting for the fourth quarter of the sponsorship fee that is yet to come.”
League title and broadcast sponsors StarTimes, who are running a 10-year Shs27b deal of the competition, had already disbursed the first three quarters, but are due to release the final cut of about Shs20m per topflight club at the completion of the season, as per the contract. Several efforts to reach StarTimes brand and marketing manager Isma Lule for a comment on the renewed demand from the clubs were futile by press time.
However, at the time the league was abruptly cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic that froze sporting events in the country, he said they were surprised by Fufa’s sudden decision but promised to have a discussion with local governing body.
It remains to be seen what the sponsors position is but Lule had told this paper that they would only execute their obligations per the contract signed with Fufa.
In the contract, the sponsors are supposed to pay last quarter if the remaining games are played. But with the decision to end the league prematurely, moreover without consulting StarTimes, Lule said they can only come in on ‘humanitarian grounds.’
That humanitarian ground could be what the last resort for the cash-strapped clubs to appeal to going into the meeting with Fufa.
Meanwhile, URA CEO Bridget Nakayenga, they must have received the position bonus share although she was yet to balance the books and ascertain.
“Recently UPL secretariat asked us for our account balance details and we forwarded them in, I believe they will pay all the money soon,” Nakayenga revealed.
League champions Vipers, entitled to Shs60m were yet to check their bank balance. “We are still waiting for a communication from Fufa about that money,” a Vipers official stressed on anonymity preference.